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03-10-2020, 10:36 AM   #1
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Hot Shoe Cover how important is it and why ?

I tend to misplace things and often never see them again

among the items, hot shoe covers rank high in the " misplaced " list

I have never worried about keeping a hot shoe cover on my camera bodies

should I ?

does it make a difference between an SLR and DSLR ?

03-10-2020, 11:18 AM - 2 Likes   #2
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Those covers are a pesky item to store and then find again when needed. I use my hotshoe for flash, triggers, etc, but whenever i am going to be around splashing water or shooting in fog, i like to keep it covered just to keep big droplets off those contacts. I suppose you could keep the exposed contacts wiped down when they get wet and not worry too much about issues.
03-10-2020, 11:25 AM - 1 Like   #3
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I hardly use flash, so I keep the hot shoe cover firmly on, and I reckon it must protect the terminals - it certainly can't be orse than not having it

Question, however -a little tangential, but not irrelevant - do modern Pentax flashes have a slot to store the hot shoe cover like some of the older ones did?
03-10-2020, 11:37 AM - 2 Likes   #4
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I keep a spirit level in my hot shoe, rather than the actual cover...

03-10-2020, 11:47 AM - 1 Like   #5
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Back in the golden age most cameras never came with a hot shoe cover as fas as I recall. The Canon AE1 did but I cant recall any of the others coming with one.

I seem to remember reading that you can get a nasty belt from the contacts and its was supposedly why Canon started putting a cover over the FTb flash synch socket, peoples mits got on it and got a nasty shock. I am not inclined to test that out with my FTb.
03-10-2020, 11:55 AM - 2 Likes   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by aslyfox Quote
I have never worried about keeping a hot shoe cover on my camera bodies
should I ?
does it make a difference between an SLR and DSLR ?
It depends. Should you use a hot shoe cover?
Shoot mostly indoors? No. Mostly outdoors? Yes.
Never use an external flash? No. Sometimes use external flash? Yes.
Weather sealed camera? No. Non-weather sealed? Yes.
Dry climate? No. Humid climate or near the water/coast? Yes.
Older SLR accessory 'cold' shoe? No. Multi contacts modern SLR/DSLR hot shoe? Yes.

I do believe with older SLRs due to age/oxidation, any reduced conductivity in the shoe contact can affect triggering the flash.

If you never worried about this before, why are you now?
03-10-2020, 12:10 PM - 3 Likes   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Alex645 Quote
It depends. Should you use a hot shoe cover? . . . If you never worried about this before, why are you now?
I've thought about it from time to time

and I recently picked up three vintage Pentax SLR camera bodies: Z-1, Super Program and ME Super

none have hot shoe covers

of course, hot shoe covers are available at low cost

[ plus I like to start threads which might help me and perhaps others as well ]

Last edited by aslyfox; 03-10-2020 at 12:32 PM.
03-10-2020, 12:19 PM - 3 Likes   #8
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The consideration is the possibility of a short circuit between flash contacts if the camera settings enable power to the shoe. The side rails are typically the ground/negative polarity return path. A piece of tape (transparent, electrical, etc) will provide prudent protection.


In some cases activating the shutter simply provides a path for either a low voltage trigger signal or high voltage current from an attached flash to pass through the camera body. A built-in flash generates the necessary high voltage from the camera's internal battery - normally not present at the hot shoe but why risk it?

A fancier solution is a piece of folded plastic cut from a plastic bottle - folded or crimped so that tension holds it in place. Here's a pix of a field-expedient diffuser that illustrates that idea.



03-10-2020, 12:19 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by aslyfox Quote
I've thought about it from time to time

and I recently picked up three vintage Pentax SLR camera bodies: Z-1, Super Program and ME Super

none have hot shoe covers

of course, hot shoe covers are available at low cost
We can assume there is a reason that SLRs came with hot shoe covers, and since you've just bought three recently, and spares are cheap, I'd suggest to buy the covers for 'peace of mind'. Essential? Absolutely not. But TLC adds up in the longevity game.
03-10-2020, 12:21 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Alex645 Quote
We can assume there is a reason that SLRs came with hot shoe covers, and since you've just bought three recently, and spares are cheap, I'd suggest to buy the covers for 'peace of mind'. Essential? Absolutely not. But TLC adds up in the longevity game.
did they ? I don't know but ---

QuoteOriginally posted by Astro-Baby Quote
Back in the golden age most cameras never came with a hot shoe cover as fas as I recall. The Canon AE1 did but I cant recall any of the others coming with one.. . .
03-10-2020, 12:29 PM - 1 Like   #11
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The covers are to keep incidental dust, mud, and sweat off at best or perhaps salt spray. They also lend a more finished appearance. They are not part of a Pentax dSLR's environmental seals and readily allow passage of water, cola, or coffee when challenged.

I first encountered hot shoe covers with my K10D, though my 1984 vintage, almost-new Zenit Automat had one when I took delivery a year or so ago. Not so, my purchased new 1982 Ricoh XR7 or 2015 Voiglander Bessa R3M.


Steve
03-10-2020, 12:31 PM - 2 Likes   #12
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Read somewhere a ways back that Pentax considers the hot shoe cover (on their DSLRs) an important part of their weather resistant sealing. I also vaguely recall that somebody here was rejected a warranty repair due to water damage - they said - was caused by the lack of a covered hot shoe. So...before that and since then, I have always made sure to 1) keep my hot shoes covered, and 2) buy them in bulk keeping a extra one around. Furthermore, also having lost my fair share of them, I get quite insane about where I put them when I take them off.

I wish I could remember where I got this information from but it's been 5 or more years, I believe, since I saw these facts.

All that said, I find it a little hard to believe that moisture can get in through an uncovered hot shoe, but in the case where this happened, the owner (again as I recall) was in heavy fog or something similar. YMMV
03-10-2020, 12:38 PM   #13
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FWIW, cheap substitute = cut one out from a discarded plastic "whatever"

And keep/ buy a "real one" and keep that safely in the cupboard until you want to sell the body - or just to "show off" around "here"
03-10-2020, 12:39 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by aslyfox Quote
did they ? I don't know but ---
The "golden age" before hot shoes, where they were just accessory shoes and PC sync cables were used, yes, no need for a shoe cover and SLRs did not come with them.

But every SLR I purchased new (1) Yashica, (4) Minolta, (2) Pentax, (1) Nikon, all came with hot shoe covers. After using an external flash the first time, most of us didn't bother putting that tiny plastic cover back on and they got lost.
I bought two Nikon F3HP which has that annoyingly unique hot shoe around the rewind knob, so those never had a special cover.

I would say it would be very common that any used SLRs did not have their hot shoe covers.
03-10-2020, 12:41 PM - 2 Likes   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by pacerr Quote
The consideration is the possibility of a short circuit between flash contacts if the camera settings enable power to the shoe.
Which they never do. The contacts are always fully passive and and only have voltage when supplied by the mounted device.* That said, there is a risk of voltage leaking across shoe contamination (salt spray, sweat, and such) when a powered device is mounted.


Steve

* Ironically, the hot shoe is never hot unless a hot foot is inserted. Yes, I tested. I know...no sooner do I type this than someone will remind me of a hot-shoe powered device. If such exists, my excuse is that I have never come across such an item.

Last edited by stevebrot; 03-10-2020 at 01:09 PM. Reason: disclaimer
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